Insaniyyat Talks

This series of meetings will be delivered in a format of seminar talks that will include a lecture and a discussion afterwards. We aim to bring together Insaniyyat members and other anthropologists into a conversation about recent ethnographic research in/on Palestine, and beyond. Lectures will be delivered in either English or Arabic, according to the preference of each speaker. All meetings will be conducted online to allow broad participation. Interested friends from other disciplines are also welcome to join.

Follow this page for updated zoom links, and write to us at if you would like to be in touch or if you have any questions or suggestions.

Fall 2022

Crossing a Line: Laws, Violence, and Roadblocks to Palestinian Political Expression

عبور خط: القوانين والعنف والحواجز في طرقات التعبير السياسي الفلسطيني 


Wednesday, October 19th, at 7PM (Palestine time) - Anthropologist Amahl Bishara

In Conversation With Anthropologist Rhoda Kanaaneh

Join us via Zoom.



Abstract: Palestinians living on different sides of the Green Line make up approximately one-fifth of Israeli citizens and about four-fifths of the population of the West Bank. In both groups, activists assert that they share a single political struggle for national liberation. Yet, obstacles inhibit their ability to speak to each other and as a collective. Geopolitical boundaries fragment Palestinians into ever smaller groups. Through ethnography in her new book (Stanford, 2022), Bishara enters these distinct environments for political expression and action of Palestinians who carry Israeli citizenship and Palestinians subject to Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, and considers how Palestinians are differently impacted by dispossession, settler colonialism, and militarism.

Bishara looks to sites of political practice—journalism, historical commemorations, street demonstrations, social media, in prison, and on the road—to analyze how Palestinians create collectivities in these varied circumstances. She draws on firsthand research, personal interviews, and public media to examine how people shape and reshape meanings in circumstances of constraint. In considering these different environments for political expression and action, Bishara illuminates how expression is always grounded in place—and how a people can struggle together for liberation even when they cannot join together in protest.


Amahl Bishara, Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology at Tufts University, looks in her new ethnography (Standord, 2022) to sites of political practice—journalism, historical commemorations, street demonstrations, social media, in prison, and on the road—to analyze how fragmented Palestinians create collectivities in distinct environments, impacted by dispossession, settler colonialism, and militarism.

In Conversation with Dr. Rhoda Kanaaneh, anthropologist and author of several books and articles in Palestinian anthropology, who has taught anthropology and gender and sexuality studies at a number of universities, including NYU, Columbia University and most recently Fordham University.


Palestinian Refugees in Syria: The Politics of Identity, Citizenship, and Return in the Wake of the Syrian War

اللاجئون الفلسطينيون في سوريا: سياسات الهوية والمواطنة والعودة إثر الحرب في سوريا


Wednesday, November 23rd at 7PM (Palestine time) – Anthropologist Nell Gabiam

Join us via Zoom


Abstract: Before the ongoing war in Syria, the country’s Palestinian refugee population was considered the most integrated of all Arab host countries. Despite this high level of integration, the majority of Syria’s Palestinian population continued to emphasize their Palestinian identity, to live in areas referred to as “camps,” and to advocate for the right of return to the Palestinian homes. In my earlier research I focused on how UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) plans to promote sustainable development in Palestinian refugee camps triggered debate and reflection among Palestinian refugees about the meaning of Palestinian refugee identity and the role of the Palestinian refugee camp. Similar debates and reflections have re-emerged in the wake of the now 10-year-long Syrian war, a war that has resulted in the displacement across borders of at least 20% of Syria’s Palestinian population and that has consolidated Europe’s role as a space of exile for Palestinian refugees. A new dimension of these debates is the issue of citizenship, including the acquisition of citizenship within a European country and how it might affect Palestinian identity and the political claims linked to this identity. Drawing on earlier fieldwork in Syria’s Palestinian refugee camps and more recent fieldwork among Palestinians displaced by the war in Syria, I reflect on the politics of identity, citizenship, and return among Palestinian refugees before and in the aftermath of the war in Syria.


From Crown Anemone to Bushy Bean Caper


Wednesday, December 14th at 7PM (Palestine Time) - Anthropologist Rema Hammami

Join us via Zoom